When flying from the UK to Ireland, you'll clear immigration at the Irish airport.

So why must people connecting in the UK clear immigration (and be photographed at security to prove they did this, rather than using the transit corridor) in order to board a flight to Ireland?

Is it to prevent non-Europeans from entering Ireland posing as Brits by presenting a UK driving licence, and then fly back to the UK (as you don't clear immigration in the other direction)?

  • Have you examined, or studied, "Operation Gull"? It is still in effect and is likely to remain in effect for long time.
    – Gayot Fow
    Aug 28, 2017 at 17:39
  • @GayotFow I thought that pertained to Northern Irish air and ferryports
    – Crazydre
    Aug 28, 2017 at 17:46
  • Yes, Belfast and all international ports in southern England.
    – Gayot Fow
    Aug 28, 2017 at 17:50
  • @GayotFow Ah K, so once you present yourself at the UK border (say at Gatwick) and declare that you're going to Ireland, Operation Gull kicks in?
    – Crazydre
    Aug 28, 2017 at 17:52
  • Yes, but sporadically, nobody knows how many people are assigned to the operation, but it cannot be discounted. What does kick off every time is the 2013 UK/US agreement (which the ROI also signed). So take your pick.
    – Gayot Fow
    Aug 28, 2017 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


Part of this stems from Operation Gull, which is in place on a non-systematic basis at English airports as well as Northern Irish air- and seaports.

It is a measure to identify people intending to use the Common Travel Area (a British-Irish semi-open border concept) as a loophole to enter the republic of Ireland, as border controls at the land border are limited to spot checks on the motorway and trains between Belfast and Dublin.

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